In the days leading up to the 38th Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar in California, usracing.com is publishing profiles on the horses in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (Saturday, Nov. 6). The profiles will be updated following the post-position draw on Monday, Nov. 1.
By Margaret Ransom
After a strong runner-up finish in his debut back in 2019, Express Train broke his maiden by 14½ lengths over the Del Mar main track. His stakes debut produced a fourth-place finish in his third start in the American Pharoah Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita, which produced a significant layoff.
Since then, Express Train has picked up multiple graded stakes wins and placings (wins in the San Pasqual and San Diego handicaps — both Garde 2s — and placings in the Grade 1 Malibu, Santa Anita Handicap and Hollywood Gold Cup). He enters the Classic off a third-place finish in the Awesome Again Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita.
Post position: TBD
Jockey: Juan Hernandez
Trainer: John Shirreffs
Owner: C.R.K. Stables (Lee and Susan Searing)
Career record: 14-4-4-3
Career earnings: $695,800
Top Equibase speed figure: 111
Pedigree: Union Rags-I’m a Flake, by Mineshaft
Running style: Closer
Betting advice: The best thing about Express Train’s running style is his tactical turn of foot. He can be placed close to the pace if the speed doesn’t develop or sit father off if things in front are quickly. He’s got a ton of talent and pedigree to run all day, but he hasn’t posted any kind of a number to suggest he can run with the top choices.
Notes: John Shirreffs most famously trained the great mare Zenyatta to her Classic victory in 2008, as well as her Distaff score (Ladies Classic then) in 2008… he also saddled Life is Sweet to a Distaff victory in 2008… Jockey Juan Hernandez has ridden two Breeders’ Cup runners with a second aboard longshot Anneau d’Or in the 2019 Juvenile… C.R.K. stable has had five starters and six starts in the Breeders’ Cup, led by Switch who was second and third in the 2011, 2012 Filly & Mare Sprint, respectively.
|1||Tripoli||15-1||Irad Ortiz,Jr||John Sadler|
|2||Express Train||20-1||Victor Espinoza||John Shirreffs|
|3||Hot Rod Charlie||4-1||Flavien Prat||Doug O’Neill|
|4||Essential Quality||3-1||Luis Saez||Brad Cox|
|5||Knicks Go||5-2||Joel Rosario||Brad Cox|
|6||Art Collector||8-1||Mike Smith||William Mott|
|7||Stiletto Boy||30-1||Kent Desormeaux||Ed Moger,Jr.|
|8||Medina Spirit||4-1||John Velazquez||Bob Baffert|
|9||Max Player||8-1||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||Steven Asmussen|
California native and lifelong horsewoman Margaret Ransom is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program. She got her start in racing working in the publicity departments at Calder Race Course and Hialeah Park, as well as in the racing office at Gulfstream Park in South Florida. She then spent six years in Lexington, KY, at BRISnet.com, where she helped create and develop the company’s popular newsletters: Handicapper’s Edge and Bloodstock Journal.After returning to California, she served six years as the Southern California news correspondent for BloodHorse, assisted in the publicity department at Santa Anita Park and was a contributor to many other racing publications, including HorsePlayer Magazine and Trainer Magazine. She then spent seven years at HRTV and HRTV.com in various roles as researcher, programming assistant, producer and social media and marketing manager.
She has also walked hots and groomed runners, worked the elite sales in Kentucky for top-class consignors and volunteers for several racehorse retirement organizations, including CARMA.In 2016, Margaret was the recipient of the prestigious Stanley Bergstein Writing Award, sponsored by Team Valor, and was an Eclipse Award honorable mention for her story, “The Shocking Untold Story of Maria Borell,” which appeared on USRacing.com. The article and subsequent stories helped save 43 abandoned and neglected Thoroughbreds in Kentucky and also helped create a new animal welfare law in Kentucky known as the “Borell Law.”Margaret’s very first Breeders’ Cup was at Hollywood Park in 1984 and she has attended more than half of the Breeders’ Cups since. She counts Holy Bull and Arrogate as her favorite horses of all time.She lives in Robinson, Texas, with her longtime beau, Tony. She is the executive director of the 501(c)(3) non-profit horse rescue, The Bridge Sanctuary.